In October of 1968, the Apollo 7 mission was launched into orbit. This was the first manned Apollo mission and the first to carry a live crew into orbit. Even though the objective was completed, it was also beset with difficulties. Continue reading to learn more about what occurred during the Apollo 7 mission.
What Was The Apollo 7 Mission?
The Apollo 7 mission was the first manned mission in the Apollo program and was launched on October 11, 1968. The primary objectives of the mission were to test the Apollo Command and Service Module (CSM) in a live crew environment and to demonstrate rendezvous and docking capabilities. The CSM was the spacecraft that would be used for the moon landing missions. The Apollo 7 crew was supposed to test all of the systems on the CSM, including the life support, communications, and propulsion systems.
The mission was successful in accomplishing its objectives, but it was also plagued with problems. The crew experienced multiple technical difficulties, and there was tension between the crew and mission control. The mission was also controversial because of the decision to launch it without a backup crew.
Who Are The Astronauts of Apollo 7?
Walter M. Schirra, Jr. was born on March 12, 1923, in Newark, New Jersey. He joined the United States Navy in 1941 and was made a naval aviator in 1943.
Schirra joined NASA in 1959 and became one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts. He flew the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission in 1962, which was the longest Mercury flight at that time. He also flew the Gemini 6 mission in 1965, which was the first rendezvous of two manned spacecraft in orbit.
Donn F. Eisele was born on June 23, 1930, in Columbus, Ohio. After graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 1952, he was commissioned as a naval aviator in 1954. During the Korean War, he flew combat missions.
Eisele joined NASA as part of the third group of astronauts selected in 1963. He served as the backup pilot for the Gemini 9 mission and was also assigned to the Apollo Applications Program.
R. Walter Cunningham was born on March 16, 1932, in Creston, Iowa. He received a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1956. He served as a fighter pilot in the United States Marine Corps and flew more than 100 combat missions during the Korean War.
In 1966, Cunningham became part of the fourth group of astronauts chosen by NASA. He served as backup Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 7, which was part of the Apollo program.
What Went Wrong During The Apollo 7 Mission?
The launch was originally scheduled for October 18, 1968, but was moved up to October 11 due to concerns about the readiness of the Saturn V rocket.
The launch was delayed for nearly an hour due to a problem with one of the fuel cells on the CSM. Once the launch finally occurred, it was beset with more problems. The CSM’s Service Propulsion System (SPS) engine, which was supposed to be used for rendezvous and docking, failed to ignite properly. The engine finally ignited after multiple attempts, but it put the Apollo 7 crew behind schedule.
The Command Module was also having problems with its oxygen supply, which caused the cabin to fill with carbon dioxide. The astronauts had to use their emergency oxygen supply and were forced to wear their spacesuits for the majority of the mission.
The Apollo 7 crew also had to contend with some equipment failures, including a broken water heater and a malfunctioning tape recorder. Despite all of these problems, the crew was able to complete the mission objectives.
Lessons That Can be Applied to Future Space Missions
Some lessons can be applied to future space missions based on the experience of the Apollo 7 mission. First, it is important to have a backup plan for every system on the spacecraft. Second, it is essential to thoroughly test all systems before launch. Third, it is important to have a clear and concise communication plan between the ground and the crew. Fourth, it is important to be prepared for any eventuality.
The Apollo 7 mission was beset with difficulties, but it was also a success. The mission proved that the Apollo CSM was capable of carrying a live crew and that rendezvous and docking were possible. The problems experienced during the mission were eventually resolved and did not prevent the subsequent Apollo missions from being successful. The experience of the Apollo 7 mission can be used to inform and improve future space missions.
Future missions planned by NASA and other organizations will hopefully learn from the mistakes and successes of Apollo 7, to make them as safe and successful as possible.